Knitting up stash

After finishing my shawl, I decided to concentrate on using up the odds and ends of yarn in my stash. The first project I started was a throw blanket; that one’s still in progress because at some point I bought a gigantic cone of soft pink yarn for reasons I’ve forgotten. The thing is, the cone doesn’t fit in my knitting bag so I only work on that at home.

The first project I finished was an infinity type scarf for myself using the skein + left from Joshua’s vest which I knit in the fall of 2009. It was a cool lace pattern, but in spite of careful blocking it curls up when I wear it. Oh well–it’s still warm.

The next project was another scarf, this one for Daniel using the partial skein of red yarn left from Caleb’s Gryffindor scarf. . .my first bigger-than-a-dishcloth knit back in of summer of 2009. I did a basic 2×2 rib since this was a boy scarf; I knit until I ran out of yarn but it’s kind of short. You see, he turned down the offer of Gryffindor stripes in favor of “just red, because it’s my favorite color.” Well, I knit to please–and he is pleased. So there we are.

I’m not sure what I’ll cast on next, but in the meanwhile I’ll keep knitting my pink blanket!

Rose garden

Mimi’s funeral was last Friday. It was a hard day; there’s no way around that. But between the tears there were also many happy memories shared and even a few giggles. Which is only right, considering how many times we giggled with Mimi through the years!

There were also roses; my grandfather always grew roses and they were both involved in the Rose Society. This particular garden of roses came from the ladies in the Friday morning breakfast group she had joined sometime after he died in 1987.

 

 They did a wonderful job of capturing many of her qualities, from Charming to Down to Earth. A most thoughtful tribute, but then Mimi always was one to draw the best out of everyone around her.

  

Five reasons I shop at Aldi

  1. Prices. Might as well start with the obvious: shopping at Aldi is easy on the budget! There are a few items I prefer to buy elsewhere, but for most things the quality is fine.
  2. Size. I can get in, get a week’s worth of groceries, and get out in under half an hour. No walking five minutes just to get to the dairy cooler.
  3. Labeling. The allergen labeling is easier to read than most; no wondering if that chocolate bar contains stealth gluten. Hooray!
  4. Quirky selection. That chocolate bar? It was made in Germany. There are some items that are always there and then there are the interesting things that are seasonal. Like yummy cheeses or fancy olives or holiday goodies.
  5. Friendly. I was a little hesitant to start shopping at Aldi. Walmart has a reputation for low prices, sure, but Walmart also has a reputation for surly shoppers in pajamas and clueless employees. Aldi’s employees are whizzes at efficiency and the other shoppers tend to be fully dressed. And courteous. Who could ask for more?

Finished. Finally!

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Yards and yards and yard of lace weight yarn

If you’ve spent any time at all with me in the past two years, you’ve probably seen me working on this shawl. I bought the gorgeous midnight heather yarn with gift money from my 41st birthday (I’ll be 43 on Saturday. . .).  I cast on and pulled out several patterns before finally settling on the Sweetheart Shawl. With size 2 needles.

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Very pleased with the crocheted castoff, even though it involved many pins to block.

Except for using lace weight yarn (and size 2 needles), it was actually a rather boring knit. The repeat was 8 rows: except for the edge and increases, 5 were all knit, 2 were all purl, and only 1 was pattern. Also, the rows very quickly got to be ridiculously long, taking over a half hour per row.

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Did I mention the size 2 needles?!

All in all I am pleased and thankful that my yarn was fabulous enough that I kept going in spite of myself. The pictures don’t do the color justice: it’s a beautiful blend of dark green/navy/black. Still, I’m ready to give away my size 2 needles and knit only worsted weight for a while.

At home (Epiphany)

Another random selection of what’s happening at my home. . .

My book basket

The first book I read this year was Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford. It was a sweet love story with some very sad and bitter moments. Book group will resume shortly; our first book this year is Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I’ve never read anything by Woolf so I have no idea what to expect. My Bible reading has been more sporadic than I would like, so I’m still reading in Exodus.

In the kitchen

The Christmas cookies are long gone, which I am sure surprises no one. I am currently working on a pantry challenge; that is, focusing on cooking the food we already have and purchasing minimal groceries. My stockpile is not that big at the moment, but there are a few items that have been lurking about too long.

Sewing corner

I have resolved that any handmade gifts for Christmas 2016 must be done before Thanksgiving. Wish me luck! The kids’ pajama pants almost weren’t done in time, and the whole project became more stressful than it should have been. Which is why I haven’t sewn since early morning Christmas Eve. My next project is to finish the blouse I started in November, and then I think I am going to work on a surprise for Larry’s birthday.

School room

We resumed homeschool this past Wednesday, although it was a light week. We finished our read aloud of Kipling’s Jungle Book but the rest of the boys’ assignments were things they could do without me. This coming week we’ll have to tackle a full load since we will be gone part of the following week for Mimi’s funeral.

Mimi

My Mimi died this week, at 93 years young. It wasn’t a surprise: her health had gradually declined since last summer. But it still isn’t easy to lose your grandmother. Even when you’re almost 43 years old. Maybe especially then, when you have four decades of memories to sift through.

I was asked to write Mimi’s obituary, and writing it was a good thing. No surprise there, as I have always tended to think best when I am writing. I am glad that I had started a rough draft this fall, because it’s harder to think through tears. Anyhow, I will post a link on Facebook once it is on the funeral home site, but in the meanwhile I wanted to share a few random pictures and memories.

MimiGaummy

Mimi, Angie, & Gaummy–1975

Going to Mimi’s house was always fun. She would play games with us and would almost always serve chicken for dinner if I told her I needed it. But she never spoiled us; if our parents would say no, she certainly would not say yes. She also kept us busy, washing her patio or drying dishes or just tagging along on errands.

Cousins 1988

Danny, Tony, Maggie, Mimi, & Angie–1988

I’m not sure which I liked more, spending Christmas at Mimi’s house or having her come to our house. Going to Mimi’s often meant celebrating with cousins.

GreatMimi

Caleb, Rachel, & “Great” Mimi–2001

I am thankful my older kids had many opportunities to get to know their Great-Mimi, as Caleb dubbed her. She was on our way to Indiana and so we would stop for an overnight or at least for lunch. She also occasionally came to our house with Dad and Mom for a holiday visit.

DSCF5634

Friday morning breakfast–2012

I got to know quite a few of Mimi’s friends when I lived with her summers in college. Some of them were willing eaters as I learned to bake pie. It was also a treat to see them when I visited in later years, especially the Friday morning breakfast group.

From her obituary: Mary Jane’s warm smile and contagious giggle will be remembered by all who knew her.

Twenty years

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see  him leave. – Martin  Luther

reception

December 30, 1995

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. – Henry Ford

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December 30, 2015

What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. – Mark 10:9

 

Sewing year in review

One of my goals for 2015 was to sew at least one garment per month. There were months that I was sewing on the 31st to finish a garment, but on the whole I managed to surpass my goal. Bonus: I weeded out and tidied up my sewing closet!

A list of 2015 projects, in no particular order:

  • 4 skirts; 2 were self-drafted.
  • 18 cloth napkins.
  • 2 pairs of leggings.
  • Case for interchangeable knitting needles.
  • 2 jackets: 1 for winter, 1 for rain.
  • Finished my table runner (a rare UFO for me).
  • 4 pillowcases plus 2 throw pillows.
  • Ironing board cover.
  • A vest.
  • 6 knit tops.
  • 2 slipcovers for living room chairs.
  • A zipper pouch.
  • 3 slips, 1 full 2 half.
  • 4 aprons (2 were bridal shower gifts).
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Strawberry apron.

  • 2 nightgowns.
  • 7 pairs of pajama pants.
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Nathan’s Christmas pajama pants

  • 3 tote bags (1 was a Christmas gift).
  • A knit dress.
  • 3 cardigans.
  • And a handful of little projects ranging from a glasses case to hot pads to a turban for wet hair.

Next up: finish the blouse I started before Thanksgiving. This will involve removing the sleeves and cutting out new ones that fit (as well as tweaking the armhole).

Christmas 2015

Over the years, there have only been a couple times that Larry has been sick enough to miss church, and never on a holiday. Until this year. It took me half a day to convince him to find a substitute and stay home with his germs. . .he made it through a short homily at the Christmas Eve children’s program, but the retired pastor took care of both services on Christmas morning.

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Christmas Day service. . .without Dad

With Larry down for the count and some of the kids complaining of sore throats, we ended up having a low key day at home instead of going up to the Cities to have dinner with Larry’s family. We start,ed by munching on some of the snack foods we had received as gifts while opening presents.

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Rachel’s turn to open the first gift, the reason we celebrate.

After that, the kids started by opening their gifts from each other. This is their 8th year to draw names and they seem to really enjoy both giving and receiving. I hope they continue the tradition even as adults.

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Joshua gave Nathan a set of handcuffs; was that even a good idea?!

I think I posted that we went with a family gift this year, a flat screen TV that Larry found on Craigslist. However, I got to help Mom do her shopping as well as Mimi’s, so there were still plenty of gifts under the tree.

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Caleb’s new cookware for the dorm, from Papaw and Mimi

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Daniel’s godmother sewed him a shirt that is his favorite gift, second only to his Swiss Army knife!

Have a blessed rest of the Christmas season!

Jingle all the way

I’m not a crafter; to be honest, it makes me a little bit cranky. But I do make an annual exception because I enjoy making new Christmas ornaments for the kids.

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If, in a given year, I am organized. . .they find their new ornaments in their stockings on St. Nicholas Day. This year, I was still making ornaments on December 6. My original idea didn’t work out very well so I had to go back to Pinterest where I settled on this idea.

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As you can see I made a couple changes to use what I had. I like the cheery look of the baker’s twine but I had hemp twine. I really liked the holly berries I bought for my original idea so I substituted them for a ribbon bow. I also added the kid’s names and the year with a paint pen to eliminate questions about whose ornament is whose.